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Software & Bios

6 Posts authored by: Drew_Jensen

Late last year, in the shadows of the big splash launch of the Intel® Intelligent Systems Framework (http://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/embedded/intelligent-systems-framework.html), another more subtle yet very significant announcement was made by the Intelligent Systems Group (ISG) of Intel.  At the Intel® Intelligent Systems Summit in Taipei last October (http://www.intel-events.com/iiss), ISG announced future availability of a product called the Intel® Firmware Support Package (Intel® FSP . . . http://www.intel.com/fsp).  Details of this announcement and technical presentation can be found here:  https://www.intel-event.com/iiss/iiss/d/track4/4-3.pdf

 

In 2010, Intel announce availability of a royalty-free system firmware solution called the Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK . . . http://www.intel.com/go/bldk).   However, in October (2012), Intel announce it would be evolving the Intel BLDK solution, and transition to the Intel FSP solutions to enable royalty-free system firmware solutions.

 

Why you ask is this significant?  In addition to the Intel FSP solution being available on more Intel platforms, and not just the Intel® Atom™ Processors, the Intel FSP has standardized APIs that allow for interface of Intel silicon initialization code into any customized system firmware implementation.  The implication is that open source firmware solutions, such as Coreboot (http://www.coreboot.org/) and U-Boot (http://www.denx.de/wiki/U-Boot) can be utilized on Intel silicon for the first time.  Intel has historically held their initialization code very “close to the chest,” and prohibited any integration of silicon initialization code combined with open source code.  This has made it very difficult for embedded developers to utilize or develop anything other than a BIOS for an embedded system based on Intel® Architecture.  Now with the Intel FSP, embedded developers can use Intel Architecture for the first time ever with open source firmware solutions.

 

Want to find out more about the Intel FSP? Please plan to attend technical presentations at the Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conferences (http://www.rtecc.com/) at these locations and dates:

 

Santa Clara, CA       January 24

Boston, MA            May 9

San Diego, CA         October 15

Irvine, CA            October 17

 

Hope to see you there!

The Intel Developer Forum is this week (September 13-15), and we have some exciting training and demonstrations prepared around firmware and boot loaders for Intel® architecture.

 

Of course, the Embedded group is presenting a course on the Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK) titled Reshaping the Intel® Architecture Firmware Landscape using Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK) for Embedded Designs.  Cris Rhodes is a long-time BIOS development manager at Intel, and it is great to have him on the Intel BLDK team and presenting this course.  (Elmer Amaya from the Software and Services Group, who was planning to co-present, unfortunately was called away at the last minute and will not be able to co-present.)

 

There is also a bunch of courses on UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), which are too numerous to list here.  However, one other course of note will be from Pete Dice, who is currently the lead Firmware Architect in our Chipset group (and also former Architect for the Intel BLDK).  His course is titled Designing for Next Generation Best-In-Class Platform Responsiveness, and goes into a lot of details on what Intel is doing around boot time improvement, and how to design Intel based systems fast boot time responsiveness.

 

You are also going to see use of Intel BLDK and other Intel boot loaders for embedded devices all across the IDF event.  We will have an Intel BLDK demonstration in the Software Community exhibit area, as well as demos in the Embedded Zone which are utilizing Intel BLDK.  There are also a couple lab courses (noted below) that will be using embedded platforms that utilize Intel BLDK based boot loaders.  Also, you are going to see Intel architecture boot loader demos from the following exhibitors:

 

  • American Megatrends Inc.
  • Arium
  • Inforce Computing
  • Intelligraphics Incorporated
  • Macraigor Systems, Inc.
  • Phoenix Technologies Ltd.
  • SBS Science & Technology Co., Ltd.
  • Wind River

 

Finally, you might want to check out the course on Next Generation Intel® Atom™ Processors for Embedded, and find out what we have in store for embedded boot loaders for upcoming platforms.

 

I’ll be at the event all week, and would love to talk with you about what is happening with embedded firmware to improve the development experience and performance of embedded systems.  If you don’t catch me at the classes or in the Embedded Zone exhibit area, I also will be joining Cris for office hours Wednesday from 4:00 – 5:00 PM, and again on Thursday from 10:00 – 11:00 AM, in room 2000 (on the 2nd floor of Moscone).  I hope to see you there!

 

Drew

 

p.s. Here are details on the course and labs I mentioned:

 

EMBS002:  Reshaping the Intel® Architecture Firmware Landscape using Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK) for Embedded Designs,  Wednesday 1:05 – 1:55 PM, Room 2001

 

EFIS004:  Designing for Next Generation Best-In-Class Platform Responsiveness, Tuesday 4:25 - 5:15 PM, Room 2009

 

EMBS001:  Designing Embedded Intelligent Devices Powered by the Next Generation Intel® Atom Processor Based Platform,  Wednesday 11:20 AM - 12:30 PM, Room 2001

 

EMBL001:  Application Graphic and Video Performance with the Intel® Atom™ Processor E6XX Platform,  Tuesday 1:05 – 2:20 PM, and again on Tuesday 3:20 - 4:45 PM, Room 2012

 

SFTL003:  Create a Custom Embedded Linux* OS for Any Embedded Device using the Yocto Project*, Wednesday 1:05 – 2:20 PM, and again Wednesday 3:20 - 4:45 PM, Room 2012

 

p.s.s.  I’ll also be presenting at Embedded Systems Conference in Boston, from Sep. 26-29, so if you don’t catch me at IDF, perhaps I’ll see you at ESC!  http://schedule-boston.esc.eetimes.com/session/6130

Who:  Embedded systems designers looking for customizable option for creating optimized initialization firmware for Intel® Atom™ processor based platforms.

 

 

What:  Intel has officially released our first publicly available version of the Intel BLDK, which is a combination of reference source code, binary libraries, and development tools that allow creation of customized and optimized Intel® Atom™ processor firmware for fixed functioning embedded applications.

 

 

When:  Now!   Download is available beginning July 28, 2011.

 

 

Wherehttp://www.intel.com/go/bldk, the Embedded Software Discussion Forum, and the e-Help desk

 

 

How:  Find out more how to utilize the Intel BLDK using the key resources below.

 

 

Key Resources:

 

Embedded Intel Atom Platforms: The ABC's of the Intel Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel BLDK)

This is an introductory 60 minute webinar on the Intel BLDK.

 

Rapid Development of Boot Loaders using Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK) for Embedded Designs

Training on the architectural overview, features and capabilities and roadmap of Intel BLDK, as well as how to use Intel BLDK for rapid development and deployment of boot loaders.

 

Getting Started Guide: Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK) Version 2.0

This manual provides information on how to install, build, and customize the code base using the Intel BLDK.

I’ve recently received a lot of questions about when customers can get the Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK).   The short answer is first release will be available in mid-July.  This first release will support the Intel® Atom™ Processor E6xx Series.

 

We actually announced this back in April at IDF in Beijing . . . in fact, we had a presentation from the Intel BLDK team that talked about specific availability.  You can get this presentation, as well as another technical presentation Intel delivered on Intel BLDK from here:

 

https://intel.wingateweb.com/bj11/scheduler/catalog.do

 

Search for “boot loader” and you will see two presentations.  The course labeled EBM002 contains the schedules (see slide 6).

 

If you are not feeling motivated to do download the presentation, here is what the presentation says about the schedule . . .

 

The first release of Intel BLDK will be for the Intel® Atom™ Processor E6xx Series.  We have a pre-production release now that we have provided to select customers, but this will be available for public download in mid-July.  The next implementation will be for the Intel® Atom™ Processor E6x5C Series.  Pre-production releases will be actually starting in September . . . this pushed out a couple weeks from when it was presented at IDF.  However the public gold release is still scheduled for October 2011.

 

Note that both these releases will be publicly available for download at http://www.intel.com/go/bldk.

 

Beyond that, we have a comprehensive roadmap which can be shared by your Intel sales representatives under non-disclosure.  However, I can say, with a couple possible exceptions, Intel’s long-term intent is to provide the Intel BLKD across the Intel Atom Processor roadmap for Embedded.

 

Hopefully that answers questions about availability of the Intel BLDK.  If you need more details, please contact your Intel representative and we will be happy to provide those details.

 

Until next time!

Drew

 

-----


Drew Jensen

Boot Loader Product Marketing Manager

Intel Corporation

Embedded and Communications Group

 

Blog: http://bit.ly/iWmCOn

Twitter: @intel_drew

I’m sitting here at Stanfords in PDX airport, heading home after the Intel Firmware Summit . . . an internal Intel event where all the great minds (probably myself excluded) in firmware development at Intel congregate to present and discuss all the activities in progress across the corporation.  (By the way, the Herb Crusted Sirloin at Stanford’s is excellent).

 

There were many outstanding presentations and keynotes, including presentations from executives from McAffee (George Kurtz) and Wind River (Marc Brown), as well as numerous Intel Fellows and Architects from all over Intel.  I felt very honored to present to this exceptional audience of thought leaders at Intel.

 

While there was a lot of interest in what we are doing in the Embedded and Communications Group with our Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK) program, it was overshadowed by two key themes stood out for me as I listened to all the other presenters:

 

1.  Security is becoming the next big focus area, and it starts with the firmware.  When you think about how to secure a system, the lowest interface layers need to be the first step in keeping the system secure.  Seems everyone in Intel working on firmware development is thinking about this.

 

2.  Convergence on UEFI . . . everyone in Intel is thinking about convergence to the latest UEFI standard.  You might be thinking DUH!  That has been Intel’s position for some time.  However, I heard at the firmware summit this is actually accelerating quite a bit.  In the Embedded Group, we decided last year to shift our approach for the Intel BLDK to align with the latest UEFI standards and based our implementation on the Intel® Unified Development Kit 2010 (Intel® UDK2010 . . . see http://www.tianocore.org).  At the time, we were on the bleeding edge, understanding that the rest of Intel would eventually be moving in that direction, but not for several years.  However, seems that we are going to see UEFI 2.3 based firmware/BIOS for Intel platforms across the board much sooner than expected.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot reveal much of the details, but suffice it to say that there are many exciting things going on across Intel in the firmware arena to make it easier and more productive to work with Intel Architecture.

 

Well, I have to finish my Crème Brule and then head to my gate to catch my flight.  Until next time!

 

p.s. Be sure to check out our new website at http://www.intel.com/go/bldk, and also follow me on twitter @intel_drew

Game Changer

Posted by Drew_Jensen Apr 25, 2011

Did you see it?  Tucked away in a quiet corner at IDF Beijing, amid the buzz about announcements of new products and exciting directions on the tablet and embedded markets, was a demonstration that was not particularly flashy or impressive, but could potentially be one of the biggest catalysts for major growth for Intel in the embedded space.  The demo was for the Intel® Boot Loader Development Kit (Intel® BLDK - www.intel.com/go/bldk), a product which will allow embedded customers to create simply hardware initialization firmware for their designs.  The demonstration was accompanied by two separate technical sessions, both that were packed with interested developers wanting to know more, and certainly keeping the presenters on their toes with all the questions!

 

Over the past 10 years Intel has made various attempts to provide competitive firmware solutions for embedded customers, against open source offerings such as U-Boot and Coreboot.  I’ve been around Intel during those 10 years, and have enabled many Intel customers with various firmware solutions, ranging from “Here is the spec, good luck!” to very involved 3-way agreements with 3rd party BIOS companies to provide highly customized firmware code.  However, I have never until now seen Intel make a complete firmware solution publicly available.  However, we are doing it!  We announced at IDF Beijing first public availability in July of a completely customizable firmware solution, beginning with a reference implementation for the Intel® Atom Intel® Atom™ Processor E6xx Series with the Intel® Platform Controller Hub EG20T.

 

While this still isn’t the full “open kimono” that you might get with an open source solution, only the very lowest level initialization will be provided as binary libraries.  All the rest will be open source code (BSD license).  And the great news is this will be a UEFI compliant solution, with its foundation as the Intel® UEFI Development Kit 2010 (Intel® UDK2010 - www.tianocore.org).  Why is that great news?  Because all the interfaces are standardized, developers will get a lot of reusability by simply plugging in the binary libraries for the platform of choice.  Granted, I’m probably oversimplifying, but the long term goal of the Intel BLDK program is to provide a highly customizable and easy to use solution, particularly for developers that might be new to developing firmware for Intel silicon.

 

Will it be perfect at first launch?  Probably not, as it this is pretty new for Intel, both in using the latest Intel UDK2010 implementations, as well as in the business approach to make this solution public.  I’ve been through initial launches of new software at Intel, and it usually takes a year or two to work out all the kinks.  However, I’m excited to be part of the Intel BLDK program, and fully expect this to be one of the biggest game changers this decade for Intel in Embedded.

 

Follow me on Twitter @intel_drew to keep up with the latest developments on the Intel BLDK program.